TOWAMENCIN – “I really love the direction we are heading,” stated new North Penn High School Principal Mr. Pete Nicholson. Previous Principal, Dr. Todd Bauer is now assistant superintendent to Dr. Curt Dietrich alongside Dr. Jenna Rufo, as both will split the duties of Assistant Superintendent with some restructuring of district level administration.
Some small changes are already in effect at NPHS like Knight Time and the Drop/Add Schedule in the summer. After serving as an assistant principal in North Penn High School the past five years, Nicholson is prepared for the worst and ready for the best in the 2018-19 school year.
Before being a part of the North Penn family, Nicholson started his career in the Allentown School District. There, he taught Health and Phys-Ed for seven years before fate had its way and introduced him to administrative work.
“It was my fourth year teaching and we had a new principal come in while I was teaching there. He really mentored and encouraged me to pursue administration…he saw some potential in me. When I first started in administration. I thought I might be an athletic director but as I got more into the program and really enjoyed myself, I saw that I could take on a larger role in affecting education. As luck had it, my final year of teaching, I was just getting my principal certification, and our assistant principal at the time went out on medical leave. I spent about a third of the year in his office. I loved what I was doing and working with kids on a different level and I knew I wanted to jump right in,” explained Nicholson.
Nicholson continued his way up the ladder and became an assistant principal in the Allentown school district for five years. After moving on to North Penn, he became an assistant principal to Mr. Burt Hynes and Bauer for the past five years. With the responsibilities and roles he was given by them, Nicholson feels confident in his abilities after taking the position.
“It’s not just working with Mr. Hynes and Dr. Bauer that has gotten me ready for this position, every administration that I’ve ever worked with I have taken something from them. There are things that I have carried with me from some principals I have worked with and some things that I said I would never do that as a principal. Mr. Hynes and Dr. Bauer have put me in the position to understand the school as a whole; a lot of my role as an assistant principal has dealt with the outside school community,” Nicholson reflected.
Before the school year started, Nicholson already made some minor changes to the daily school day. Throughout the summer the Knight Time schedule was rumored to increase to four days a week or to be cut back to only a few times a month. However neither are true; the only switch in the schedule was Knight Time is now Tuesdays and Thursdays and not Fridays. Nicholson sticks by the benefits of the intervention.
“I think Knight Time is great for two respects: I like that we are able to allow students to have some time to make up work, allow time for club meetings, and have time to decompress and get work done on Tuesdays…I do think Thursdays are important as well. We are a very big school and working on our climate and culture is very important especially when we don’t have to interrupt a normal bell schedule. This allows consistency which helps students and teachers to plan their school day,” Nicholson explained.
With a school never on snooze, Nicholson is determined to provide a smooth school day everyday. Constantly busy, he does try to not become a distraction and let our teachers and support staff do their job to the best of their ability.
“I see myself as being visible and being out there and helping students…if there’s anywhere I can pitch in, I don’t care where, I will be there. Whether it’s dealing with facilities and maintenance or if something is going on in the classroom, it is really just helping out where I can and setting a positive tone each and every day,” stated Nicholson about his most important contribution to the daily operations of our school.
Niche, a school rankings and review website, has just upped North Penn’s spot to 17th in the state out of 500 school districts.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve done as a school in and outside of the classroom…but 17th isn’t 1st and we are always looking for new ways to improve,” expressed Nicholson.
Without missing a beat, Nicholson is already looking into the future at his time in North Penn.
“When I’m done, whenever that may be and I hope it’s a long time from now, I hope people look back at my time here and say that we improved as a school and we improved in multiple ways not just in education. I want for people to see the climate and culture increase around the school and the whole community and to have enjoyed coming to North Penn High School. I want people to remember that I was approachable and that things are headed in the right direction. I really hope that my contributions to the school will improve learning for students and improve the culture as a whole for the building.”